Judge warns Manafort to follow gag order after op-ed

By Danielle Haynes Follow @DanielleHaynes1 Contact the Author   |  Dec. 11, 2017 at 7:26 PM
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Dec. 11 (UPI) -- A federal judge on Monday rebuked former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for ghostwriting an editorial about his work in Ukraine while released from house arrest on bail.

The office of special counsel Robert Mueller had asked District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson to hold Manafort in contempt of her gag order for the article. Prosecutors said Manafort's bail deal shouldn't be allowed.

Jackson did not punish Manafort, but did lecture him during the hearing.

"Mr. Manafort, that order applies to you and it applies to your lawyer," she said of the gag order. "The point of the order was to have the merits of this case, for everyone's benefit ... debated by the parties" in the courtroom.

Manafort's lawyers said the article wasn't meant to sway jurors in Washington because it was only published in a newspaper in Kiev.

"I don't think [it's] consistent with global electronic communication in today's world to say that's just in Kiev," Jackson said. "If you can tell a reporter what to put in the newspaper in Kiev, then it's on a website that's equally available here."

Manafort is a subject of Mueller's probe into whether member's of President Donald Trump's campaign colluded with the Russian government to sway the 2016 election.

He resigned as Trump's campaign chairman in August 2016 after The New York Times reported a Ukrainian government corruption probe found Manafort received nearly $13 million off the books from a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party.

Manafort's lawyers reached an $11.6 million bail ending his house arrest and permitting him to Virginia, Florida and Washington, D.C., in November.

Manafort and former business associate Rick Gates pleaded not guilty to charges including conspiracy against the United States in October.

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